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|South Africa Mandarins
|Per carton of 18kgs each
South Africa mandarins orange (Citrus reticulata) is a small citrus fruit that looks like an orange. It is sweeter than the common orange. Its skin is thin hence easier to peel and split into segments. South Africa mandarin is among the many exotic fruits exported by the country.
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Mandarins are said to be a hybrid of citron and pomelo. Mandarin fruits are usually 4 to 8 cm with bright orange skin. Most types are seedless. South African mandarin contains many nutrients, especially vitamin c and fiber. They contain 85% water and 13% carbohydrates.
Mandarins were introduced to South Africa in 1973 from Corsica. The first commercial planting dates back to 1980. Mandarin commercial farming was then embraced and spread quickly due to high demand globally.
Today, mandarin farming is one of South Africa’s best export. The mandarins are grown in the coastal regions of the eastern and western Cape, Kwa Zulu Natal and Limpopo area. In 2017 mandarins were the most planted soft citrus fruits in South Africa, covering 75% of the total cultivated area.
From 2009 to 2019, the total cultivated area under mandarins increased from 4960 hectares to 16,285 hectares.
There are six types of mandarins grown in South Africa, namely:
- Clementines: These are virtually seedless with a bright orange color. They are known for their high juice content.
- Novas: They are attractive reddish-orange colored with a few seeds. They also peel very easily despite their slightly thick skin.
- Fairchild’s: These are also bright orange and are known to have a “zipper” skin.
- Nadorcott: These are seedless mandarins and are known to contain high sugars with an intensely rich flavor.
- Clemenor: These are also seedless but do not have a sweet flavor compared to nadorcott.They have a distinctive sweet-sour taste.
- Morr: These are known for their exceptionally thick and large fruits.
The mandarin season in South Africa starts in April and ends in September. The mandarin tree is capable of producing fruits up to 50 years with proper care. Farmers plant the seedlings during the spring season to give them ample time to establish before the temperatures become too hot.
The mandarins grow well under moderately cool temperatures and can even withstand light frost weather conditions. (-1 degree to -3 degrees Celsius.
Mandarins take between 6 to 8 months to ripen after flowering. They are harvested with pruning shears or by hand by pulling the fruit stalk from the tree. They are then packed into cartons, each of 17kgs ready for export.
Most of South Africa mandarins are exported to the U.K.The export volumes were roughly 13M of 15kgs cartons in 2017. Other significant importers are Europe, America, and Russia.
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